Textbook of Psychiatry

A Textbook of Psychiatry for Students and Practitioners. By Sir David Henderson, M.D., F.R.F.P.S., F.R.C.P., and the late R. D. Gillespie, with the assistance of ivor R. C. Batchelor. M.B., F.R.C.P.Ed., D.P.M. Eighth edition. (Pp. 746+xii. 35s.) London, New York, Toronto: Oxford University Press. 1956.

British Medical Journal, 16 November 1957, p. 1162.

This famous textbook of psychiatry has now reached its eighth edition, and all British psychiatrists will wish to congratulate the senior author on this great record and on the contribution he and his co-authors have made to psychiatric education. lt is not too much to say that the British approachi to clinical psychiatry has been dominated by this work, which has made the influence of the Edinburgh School more important than any other. The vitality that still lies in the Meyerian approach as exemplified and diffused by Sir David Henderson still maintains itself. Among the most interesting features of the book are the contributions of Sir David himself, his views on psychopathic personality, and on the independence of the paranoid syndromes which most psychiatrists would not distinguish from paranoid schizophrenia. It would be an ungrateful task to criticize the book in detail but for the hope that new editions will continue to appear and that the Scottish School will continue to make its influence felt.

    The present edition has been rearranged and rewritten, but the authors have not been ruthless enough in discarding portions of the old. There are many items which might be considered for omission, such as the discussion of focal infection, the classification of the various insanities according to the physical disease (diabetic insanity, gouty insanity, etc.), and a great part of the over-long case histories. One of the most interesting and valuable features of the work which are peculiar to it is the first chapter of historical review. This is so good that it should be made factually perfect.  I think I am justified, therefore, in suggesting the following corrections, which have been brought to my attention by Dr. Richard A. Hunter. The "'sacred disease" of Hippocrates was not epilepsy only, but included all abnormal mental states of sudden onset. Helkiah Crooke (not "Crookes") was appointed Keeper and Physician (not Governor) to Bethlem in 1618, not 1632; indeed, he was dismissed in 1634 because he absconded with the funds. The treatment meted out to George III did not cause great indignation, but rather caused a widespread interest in insanity and the insane and so led to reforms. A committee to inquire into the King's treatment was appointed not by the House of Lords only but also by the House of Commons. Daquin (not Daguin) is associated with humane reform in France, not Italy. Conolly, the great exponent and champion of non-restraint, and who introdruced the term, spelt his name with one "n," not two. Pinel was appointed physician to the Bicêtre Rospital in 1793, so that he could not have been given a free hand by the revolutionary Commune in 1792. Dr. Munro was physician to Bethlem, not superintendent. The first Bill appointing Commissioners to visit homes in which the insane were detained was not passed in 1828, but in 1774: what happened in 1828 was that the College of Physicians relinquished their authority for appointing visitors in the London area to the newly constituted Metropolitan Commissioners. The first teacher of psvchiatry in Great Britain was not Morison in 1823 but William Battie, who was giving clinical instruction to students at St. Luke's in 1753. These are small points, btit as this is an important standard textbook, of which further editions will certainly be called for, they are worth pointing out. Perhaps also, in a future edition, some system might be introduced into the giving of references; these vary from a full reference to " A recent investigation . . . in a Scottish city showed . . . “